Thursday, March 16, 2006

A mathematician's approach to the origins of life...

Intelligent Design is may not be scientific, but Darwinian evolution may not be either. Many people assume that critics of Darwin's theory of evolution...assumed by many to be fact despite countless unknowns...are all religiously biased proponents of Intelligent Design. Not true.

Click here to read an interesting article called "God by the Numbers - Coincidence and random mutation are not the most likely explanations for some things", by Charles Edward White posted on
...The fine-tuning of the universe is shown in the precise strengths of four basic forces. Gravity is the best known of these forces and is the weakest, with a relative strength of 1. Next comes the weak nuclear force that holds the neutron together. It is 1034 times stronger than gravity but works only at subatomic distances. Electromagnetism is 1,000 times stronger than the weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force, which keeps protons together in the nucleus of an atom, is 100 times stronger yet. If even one of these forces had a slightly different strength, the life-sustaining universe we know would be impossible.

If gravity were slightly stronger, all stars would be large, like the ones that produce iron and other heavier elements, but they would burn out too rapidly for the development of life. On the other hand, if gravity were weaker, the stars would endure, but none would produce the heavier elements necessary to form planets.

The weak nuclear force controls the decay of neutrons. If it were stronger, neutrons would decay more rapidly, and there would be nothing in the universe but hydrogen. However, if this force were weaker, all the hydrogen would turn into helium and other elements.
The electromagnetic force binds atoms to one another to form molecules. If it were either weaker or stronger, no chemical bonds would form, so no life could exist.

Finally, the strong nuclear force overcomes the electromagnetic force and allows the atomic nucleus to exist. Like the weak nuclear force, changing it would produce a universe with only hydrogen or with no hydrogen.

In sum, without planets, hydrogen, and chemical bonds, there would be no life as we know it...

without planets, hydrogen,
and chemical bonds, there would be
no life as we know it

Darwin thought that all life, including humans, arose from a one-celled organism. But to get from a one-celled organism to a human being with a least a trillion cells, there would have to be many changes. Darwin says these changes were produced at random, but they would have had to occur in the right order. It doesn't do any good to give an organism a leg until it has a nervous system to control it. Even if we limit the number of necessary mutations to 1,000 and argue that half of these mutations are beneficial, the odds against getting 1,000 beneficial mutations in the proper order is 21000. Expressed in decimal form, this number is about 10301.

10301 mutations is a number far beyond the capacity of the universe to generate. Even if every particle in the universe mutated at the fastest possible rate and had done so since the Big Bang, there still would not be enough mutations.

Even if every particle in the universe
mutated at the fastest possible rate...
there still would not be enough mutations

There are about 1080 elementary particles in the universe. The fastest they could mutate would be Planck time, or 10-42 seconds. Planck time is the smallest unit of time and can be approximated as the time it would take two photons traveling at 186,000 miles per second to pass each other. If every particle in the universe (1080) had been mutating at the fastest possible rate (1042) since the Big Bang about 15 billion years ago, or 1017 seconds ago, it would produce 1080 x 1042 x 1017 or 10139 mutations. But to have a chance at even 1,000 beneficial mutations takes 10301 tries. Thus, the chance of getting 1,000 beneficial mutations out of all the mutations the universe can generate is 10139 divided by 10301, or 1 chance in 10162.

For Darwin's theory to have a chance of being right, the universe would have to be a trillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion quadrillion times older than it is. Because the universe is so young, Darwin's argument fails, and William Paley's contention that design presupposes a designer becomes more persuasive...

Because the universe is so young,
Darwin's argument fails

Today, numbers from astronomy, biology, and theoretical mathematics point to a rational mind behind the universe. To be sure, they do not point to the personal God of the Bible as such. Yet they are not inimical to the biblical God, either. The apostle John prepared the way for this conclusion when he used the word for logic, reason, and rationality—logos—to describe Christ at the beginning of his Gospel: "In the beginning was the logos, and the logos was with God, and the logos was God." When we think logically, which is the goal of mathematics, we are led to think of God.


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